What is digital stress and how does it manifest? Read the article and learn how to reduce it and maintain digital balance.
Digital stress – table of contents:
Remote working in the age of the pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic forced many companies around the world to switch to remote working. This was driven by the need to keep employees safe from a previously unknown threat. While technology, instant messaging, and social media allow us to work remotely, making life easier and more connected, they can result in information overload. Constant video conferencing, emails, and business phone calls expose employees to overstimulation that can lead to stress-inducing digital stress.
The negative aspects of doing remote work include digital imbalance during and after work, blurring the line between work and personal life (related to self-organizing and scheduling work), decreased productivity and creativity, distraction, problems focusing on the task and decreased job satisfaction.
Being online all the time also exposes the employee to burnout, worsening of mood and psychophysical condition, depression, deterioration of social relations, stress making daily work and family duties more difficult. For a company, the consequence can be higher employee turnover and increased frequency of sick leave.
Stressors associated with the use of technology include overstimulation, which means getting with too much information, non-stop multitasking, using programs that require constant human activity, making it difficult to take regular breaks. Also, too many apps and instant messaging keep distracting by ringing, vibrations, notifications, and reminders.
Recent months, in particular, have shown that employees need to be supported on the mental and physical fitness side as well, by providing a benefits package to support physical and mental health. Many companies are introducing good practices to help and relieve the employee’s stress. This could be what is known as a digital detox, turning off mail outside of working hours or reducing email communication.
Companies such as Facebook, Apple or Google also use applications that watch screen time, minimize the number of open tabs or restrict access to certain sites/platforms.
However, a better way to help than using restrictions and blockers should be to educate employees and build awareness about digital technologies, how they work and how they affect people.
Digital Wellbeing, which means taking care of the digital balance by defining precise working hours and ensuring a healthy balance between real and virtual life, is of great importance here. More and more companies are choosing online wellbeing workshops and training in work management that promote sensible use of technology, improve concentration skills and aim at organizing one’s own time and workplace.
There are numerous Digital Wellbeing programs on the market such as TeamResilience, Garmin International and Johnson&Johnson WorkplaceRespons that teach you how to manage your work and digital technologies more wisely and healthily in your work environment. They enable you to be more focused and productive while knowing how to spend quality time with family and loved ones after work.
Every entrepreneur should also think about how else they could help their employees – how to relieve them of certain responsibilities that may be an additional source of stress for them. This could be helping to provide childcare for young parents during remote working hours, help with bookkeeping for those working on B2B, or the possibility of a psychologist.
The key to keeping employees mentally and physically healthy is to change their habits, raise awareness, reorganize the work environment and protect employees’ time. It is also important to create a supportive workplace culture where the employee feels a part of the company and their well-being and sense of belonging translates into effective work.
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The most important questions
What is digital stress?
It is experiencing stress due to information overload, overstimulation, using too many apps and messengers, and constant distraction.
What are the effects of digital stress on the enterprise?
Increased frequency of sick leave and higher turnover among employees. Decreased motivation, creativity and productivity.
How do you take care of the mental health of remote workers?
Build awareness of digital balance, take care of the work environment, create a friendly corporate culture, protect employees’ working time.